|dc.description.abstract||This report seeks to answer two questions about services for individuals with autism:
Question 1: What are effective treatments for autism? Effective treatments for autism include early assessments, collaboration of services across child serving systems, duration of treatment (at least 2 years) and intensity of treatment (during waking hours and parents as therapists), and structure interventions (20-40 hours of community based individualized interventions). Empirically-based models include Lovaas (Lovaas, 1987) and Self-Management Treatment (Koegal & Koegal, 1990). Promising practices include Positive Behavioral Support (Horner, 2000) and TEACCH (Campbell, Shopler, Cueva, & Hallin,1996). Promising techniques across models include "Floor Time" (Greenspan cited by Whiteford, 2000) and Discrete Trial Training (Smith, 2001). A few interventions with limited or questionable effectiveness include Auditory Integration (Rimland & Edelson, 1995), Facilitated Communication (Mostert, 2001), and Psychopharmacology (J Am Acad Child & Adol Psychiatry, 1999).
Question 2: What is the role of the mental health system in the provision of services for individuals with autism? The author describes the ways in which the mental health system may intervene with a child who experiences autism. They may take on a lead role - hiring one or more workers to specialize in the provision of services and work collaboratively with all systems in the child's environment. The community mental health system may also take on a supportive role - supplementing services provided by other agencies and treating comorbid conditions. The author notes recent literature that indicates almost 1/5 or 17% of children and adolescents with Autism and Aspergers may have a comorbid (depressive) disorder (Kim, 2000). Finally, the mental health system would be useful in providing emotional support to families adjusting to their family members' disability.
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